Karbala: Air Force Club are just one match away from a hat-trick of AFC Cup titles after defeating Al Jazeera 3-1 in the second leg of the West Asia Zonal final on Tuesday.
The Jordanians, trailing 1-0 from the first leg, came closest to finding the back of the net in the first half, but Mahmoud Al Mardi watched his header from Mouaiad Al Ajjan’s corner-kick cannon off the crossbar in the 19th minute.
Emad Mohsin was presented with a golden opportunity to open Air Force Club's account on the night when Hammadi Ahmed released him inside the opposition box, but the forward failed to control the ball with only the goalkeeper to beat.
The hosts came out for the second half with a different look, and were in front inside three minutes of the restart as Ahmed latched onto Mohsin’s through pass inside the box and finished first time on the half-volley to put Air Force Club in front on the night and 2-0 up on aggregate.
Al Jazeera pushed further forward attempting to mount a comeback, and in the 55th minute Syrian international Mardik Mardikian rose highest to head home Fadi Al Natour’s cross from the left flank, but was denied by a well-positioned Fahad Talib.
Two minutes later, Air Force Club sealed victory with a second Ahmed goal. The skipper found space inside the box to tap in Saad Natiq’s headed pass following an in-swinging cross from Ali Husni.
The final five minutes of the game saw goals at both ends; Mohammed Tannous reduced the deficit for Al Jazeera in the 86th minute, stabbing in Islam Batran’s squared pass from inside the box, before substitute Qasim Majid made it 4-1 on aggregate with a curled long-range effort three minutes later.
Air Force Club await the winners of Wednesday’s Inter-Zone Final between Turkmenistan’s Altyn Asyr and DPR Korea’s 4.25.